Westdyke Community Club was founded in 1996 and has grown to become one of the biggest community clubs in the local area with over 600 registered budding footballers.
The club, which is based in Westhill, has proven its commitment to the development of women’s football with 168 girls and women registered to Westdyke.
Jonathan Watt is the women’s head coach and has been with club as it has grown from only having five players at their first ever training session to having an established ladies team that play in the SWF Championship North.
He said: “The growth within the club has just been huge. We started with one team and then quickly grew to two, three, four, five teams. We’ve not got a full pathway and have had so for a number of years, which we are so proud of.
“We’ve seen players progress all the way from aged eight or nine up to a really high level. We’ve got players who have been at the club that now play in the SWPL1 and I’m proud that Westdyke has been involved in their development.”
Watt is proud to be a part of the club where players wellbeing and development is the main priority. The club’s motto “Community at Heart” epitomises their achievements and ongoing ambitions.
The head coach said: “We are still very much a community club and we do things based on inclusion and development.
“We might need to be a bit more ruthless to bring in the right players at the right time and push to progress the team to get us where we want to be. We still harbor ambition to be higher than where we are and we will have to work hard for that.
“The group that we’re pulling together, we’ve seen progression year on year and I’d like to continue with a view to pushing on in the coming years and see us in the SWPL2 and beyond.”
A strong team bond
The community spirit is echoed throughout the club as Westdyke Ladies FC captain Emma Murray’s aims to create a unified team on and off the pitch. She hopes to create a safe playing environment so every player can enjoy their football.
The captain said: “We all have different backgrounds playing from different clubs, but we’ve all just merged together. We got along so well; we all work hard for each other to win every game.
“I want a team spirit that is enjoyable for everyone. I want everyone to know that they have a voice within the team. I want to get rid of the negativity, especially during games.
“We all make mistakes on the pitch, but I want people to be able to get their head up, move on and do better next time. It’s all about keeping the team together on and off the pitch.”
This season will be the first time in 18 months that the squad will hopefully be able to complete their full set of fixtures. Murray is looking forward to being able to build an even stronger relationship with her teammates.
She said: “Since I was three years old all I have done is play football regularly. Last year was quite hard because of the restrictions, but being back at training we are all seeing each other more.
“We are enjoying being able to play games and going to away games and getting that buzz back.”
Local SWPL1 influence
Westdyke play their matches a five-minute drive away from Aberdeen FC Women’s training ground, Cormack Park. Head coach Jonathan believes having the local SWPL1 side will help to boost the women’s game in the area.
He said: “It gives players at this level, and the younger ones, something tangible. They can see it over the fence and see that it could be achievable for them.
“We’ve had girls who I’ve coached at Westdyke that are now playing in that team, which is brilliant. I mean, that’s what I coach for.
“I coach to develop players, I don’t coach to win league cups – they’re nice obviously, but I want to push players as far as they can.”